My First (rejected) Magazine Submission
DOSBOS, another "DOS commands from BASIC" utility
One of the first programs of a decent size that I actually got to completion was something I called DOSBOS. It was a “utility” that let you view disk contents from BASIC. It was not very elegant as itself was a BASIC program.
I remember that my Dad was very impressed with it and even typed up my docs at work so he could print it for me to submit to a magazine. I sent it to ANALOG, but it was rejected. I have a rejection letter for it, though! I really like this rejection letter, because it is personal with hand-written comments:
Looking at the dates, it took me about 2 months to hear back. Compared to that, waiting a couple days for something to get approved for an Apple App Store is nothing!
The docs for DOSBOS spanned 6 pages and were longer than the program itself which was only 2 pages!
I’m not surprised DOSBOS was rejected. Being a BASIC program greatly limited its usefulness. To use it you had to LIST it to disk so it could be ENTERed later. It used high line numbers so it would have less of a chance of overwriting a BASIC program you were working on, but if any lines were the same you could lose your code.
This meant the process to use it when working on a BASIC program was:
This started running it and then you could use it how you wanted.
Since you didn’t want it to stick around when saving your actual program, you would manually remove it by doing this:
That command makes use of Atari BASIC’s ability to use variables at GOTO locations as I described in Programming the Atari with BASIC.
Frankly, it was probably just easier to save your program and type DOS.
Nevertheless, it was fun to create and it always feels good to finish something. And I have to say, I still really like the name DOSBOS!
I actually still have this on a floppy disk:
And here is a screen shot of DOSBOS in all its glory:
In addition to DOSBOS, I submitted modifications to programs previously published in Compute! and Antic, but my submissions were also rejected. I consider it an honor to have been rejected by the Big 3 computer magazines back in the day! Antic and Compute!’s rejections were just form letters which I’ll cover in a later post.
With Atari BASIC you could SAVE OR LIST programs to disk. Saving was faster, but LOADing a SAVEd program erased what was in memory. LISTing was slower because it was writing the plain text to disk, which made the files bigger. But you could ENTER it and it would be as if it were typed in and thus not erase what was in memory, unless the line numbers overlapped.
Love the green bar paper. Brings back memories